Saturday, 19 July 2008

Sex, sex, sex

For the first time in many years, I have today had cause to put pen to paper for the purposes of filling in an application form. It matters not what for. Suffice to say that my blogging enterprise has so far failed to resolve the problem of my monetary security (although it has proved curiously addictive) and I am therefore offering my services for the summer to a local retailing establishment. One has to live, dear reader. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the application form. Consider the following questions, if you will:
Name: no problems there, obviously (even after a rather heavy night on Old Precentor's Cassock-Lifter)
Address: again, I was equal to the challenge.
Date of birth: a slight impertinence, in my opinion, but no matter.
And then they did it. They had to do it, didn't they? And they did. They asked me for my...
...Gender.
Gender. There, I've said it - gender. Gender gender gender gender GENDER!
And I confess that I was flummoxed. And not only flummoxed, but annoyed. And not just mildly irritated, but filled with righteous indignation. Why, I hear you ask? What possible reason could there be for being exercised by such a simple question? What's Can Bass's problem?
Well, I'll tell you what my problem is. My problem is this - SEX. Sex is my problem. Yes, sex. Sex sex sex sex sex. What the johnnies at application-form HQ fail to realise when they sit around designing their insufferable little forms is that the answer they want to the question labelled gender isn't 'gender' at all. It's sex. They want to know my sex. They want to find out if I'm male or female, not whether I'm a man who wears a dress (I don't, by the way - a cassock doesn't count). They do not wish to find out if I am 'in touch' with my feminine nature (though, of course, I am); neither do they wish to know which team I 'bat' for, so-to-speak. They simply want to find out what combination of chromosomes I have inherited. Not whether I do body-building or embroidery, or whether I'm a rugger-bugger or a dilettante cricketer. So I rather fear that my answer to the question - masculine - might not be what they're looking for. No matter. I intend this very day to start a new campaign to re-instate sex as the identifier in such matters. Join today if you wish, like me, to reclaim your man or womanhood. What business is it of Mr Asda's whether I'm a hearty or an aesthete? Or of your employer's whether you satisfy your soul arranging flowers or else downing double-vodkas? It's not our gender that they want to know, dear reader. It's our sex. Let's give it to them. Down with 'gender' - and up with sex!

15 comments:

Kevin Musgrove said...

There was a time, a couple of decades ago, when the then Chief Librarian thought it appropriate to ask interviewees whether they were likely to "fall pregnant" in the first two years of the job.

Depending on the nature of the retailer, you might want to think twice before answering that question!

Eddie 2-Sox said...

You raise a good point CB1. In these days of fairness for all regardless of race, disability, age, and...sex...I wonder why the question is asked at all. As it's illegal to disqualify an applicant on the grounds that they're a woman, or a man, surely the question is redundant.

Also, any man who wears a crimson frock and sings for a living must be very secure in their masculine-ness. Bravo!

Kitty said...

I'm going to ask for a half pint of Old Precentor's Cassock-Lifter next time I'm in the pub.

x

MadPriest said...

Damn choristers have always been trouble. They start out as boys trying to get each other to giggle during evensong and end up dedicated to causing the maximum amount of chaos and anarchy. No wonder mental health problems are so rife among the clergy.

ChickPea said...

An' I thought it was jus' me has trouble with filling forms.... All power to your elbow, Can Bass 1- hope application is successful.

skygge said...

I appreciate your point, but fear a downward spiral in your personal finances engendered by being "up with sex" especially during your interview with Mr. Asda.

Or perhaps not. You might reconsider the cassock.

Good luck with your supplemental job hunt!

Father David Heron said...

It's far easier to put hermaphrodite

Suburbia said...

Masculine, sounds very old fashioned when it rolls off the tongue!

Addicted to blogging too eh?

Gadjo Dilo said...

Ha, I see what you mean. Oh course, they avoid asking "Sex?" to reduce the numbers of applicants who write "yes please". But even so there's no excuse. It would be tempting to write butch or femme, or to make up an entirely new and kinky-sounding word which will have them puzzled for the rest of their silly lives.

The Dotterel said...

Count me in (for the 'sex' campaign) and while you're at it, pop across to mine for your award!

ChickPea said...

Having given further thought to this perplexing situation - do you think that mebbe the Askers Of Said Question have Anxiety That They Will Not Know, should they invite you for interview......... and if I was born XY, but changed.... do I then state 'XY', but lie, being NOW 'XX' - or is THAT a lie - do I state 'XX' tho genetically 'XY' - maybe needs a "don't know" or a "does it matter" box........

PS. Congrats on your Award !

Liz said...

Now I had to look up gender so I could argue with you. According to Mr or Ms Chambers, gender is : a distinction of words roughly answering to sex. Well, that doens't help at all. I don't know what that means.

I still think you're wrong.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I was told the answer is 'Yes please'.

And yes I did have to take that employer to tribunal eventually as it happened.

But you are right. However it is not so much the intrusive questions on job applications that are so galling but everyone else who seems to want one's intimate details for every trivial survey etc. Sinister I call it.

Good luck at Asda. No nice Cathedral gift shop alternative I presume?

Yes I don't see myself being able to retire early on blogging or on the proceeds of my rather useless online T-shirt shop any time soon either!

Rob Clack said...

Ha ha! Worthy of Lynn Truss! Good luck in the job hunt.

having my cake said...

You're complaining about a gender question? Recently I had to complete a form that actually asked my sexual orientation!!!! I was so sorely tempted to be a little more specific than just heterosexual. I mean, what the fuck!